Appeals court to hear teacher’s sexual battery case

Larry Limpf

News Editor
The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals will hear the case of a former Vocational-Agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor at Genoa High School and Penta Career Center employee who pled guilty to one count each of sexual battery and tampering with evidence.
Luke Ryan, 39, entered the plea this summer in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court but filed the appeal earlier this month after the court imposed consecutive prison terms – 60 months for tampering with evidence and 36 months for sexual battery – for a total of eight years. Both charges are third degree felonies but do not require mandatory prison terms.
After considering the relevant sentencing factors in the Ohio Revised Code, Judge Bruce Winters ruled in September that Ryan wasn’t amenable to community control.
“The court finds that the consecutive service is necessary to protect the public from future crime and to punish the offender and that consecutive sentences are not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender’s conduct and the danger the offender poses to the public,” Judge Winters wrote. “The court also finds that at least two of the multiple offenses committed were so great or unusual that no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses of conduct adequately reflects the seriousness of the offender’s conduct.”
Ryan was indicted in September 2019 on three counts of sexual battery. The first count alleged he engaged in sexual conduct with a (female) student between Dec. 1 and 17, 2014. Count two alleged he engaged in sexual conduct on or about Dec. 31, 2014 “as part of a continuing course of conduct.” The third count alleged the same conduct from March 1, 2015 through April 30, 2015.
Ryan had initially pled not guilty but entered a guilty plea this past July to the second count and counts one and two were dismissed as part of a plea deal. He also pled guilty to the tampering charge.
His plea filing with the court states he understood the court may impose a sentence for the sexual battery offense consecutive to the sentence for tampering with evidence.
Judge Winters also ruled Ryan would have to register as a Tier 3 sexual offender and would be subject to post release control for five years after serving his prison term.
A memorandum filed by Ryan’s attorney prior to sentencing states: “Defendant has never been adjudicated a delinquent child. Further, defendant has not previously been convicted of a criminal offense. An OVI conviction in 2007 in the Maumee Municipal Court is the only prior contact defendant has had with the justice system. The offense before the court is not likely to recur.
“Defendant no longer will be in the education system and as a result of his actions no longer involved in the FFA. Defendant has shown great remorse for his actions. He realizes and accepts that he has damaged or hurt numerous people and/or organizations by his actions. He realizes he has hurt the victim, victim’s family, former students and all organizations he was involved in.”


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